tv [untitled] September 8, 2010 2:00pm-2:30pm PST
this? >> i have not, but residential treatment programs are getting target through the rfp process, which also makes it difficult to fight, so we know they are going to have less money, and some of the programs are not going to its course, and we may lose some residential programs that way. the monies from the feds don't come through, we are sure the residential facilities are going to be targeted. i have not heard that, and i would be surprised if that has happened, but it may be an indicator of these things to come. >> thank you for the question, and thank you very much for your expert testimony. >> you are welcome. >> with thomas jefferson come to the microphone, followed by annette robinson? mr. jefferson, thank you very much for coming to speak with us
this evening. >> thank you for having me. i just wanted to touch on base with what was said, especially some of the things that jennifer johnson said, who is my attorney. some of the things that were sitting here tonight are some of the things that i have received. the money threatening to be cut because of the money or whatever. nearby had not had access, -- if i had not had access, i would not be standing here today. i was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, and with long- term treatment, i was able to
make some drastic changes in my life. i am able to obtain and hold a job at this point. there have been times where i did not have a clue where to get treatment at because i did not know where it was available, and that is what is happening now. people do not know where to get it. if it had not been for the health corp., i would truly be shepherded into the system -- if it had not been for the health court. those places and things are needed, desperately, because if i had not been able to go to one to deal with both my addictions, the mental health and my drug addiction, that i do not know where i would be. i would probably be in prison somewhere. it has allowed me the opportunity to make many
changes. i was allowed to go to some places and get rid of those statements. a lot of people think we are monsters or whatever, they think we are some bad people, and had my mental health been treated early on, who knows where my life might have turned? i might have been president. [laughter] know, really, seriously. because early on -- i'm 52 years old. i had to go through a lot of things. i had to suffer homelessness. i had to be separated from my family because of my mental health. it was not because of drugs. it was because of a disorder i had. my family background, it was unheard of to put our business out in the streets. we would not discuss that. so it went untreated for real.
the only way i did receive it was i had to go to jail in order to get it. that is what is really happening now. if they do not go to jail, they do not get the treatment because the places are being cut. the money is being taken away from some of the programs, and they cannot get help or to go get medication they might need. if i do not get my medication, it is bad for me. it is very hard for me to take my medication. i just think those other programs being cut [inaudible] i was surrounded with a group of people controlling my life. those doctors, those nurses,
those counselors and case managers -- they are so much needed, and they need the money to be able to provide the services that i needed. you know? and i had to say, i would say to have a program so when they do need a jail or housing or they do not have a house to go to war -- and a place to go to when they do get a house, i can go to city-wide daily and be surrounded by people who know where i'm coming from. i did not have to be in the streets, you know? i can go where people understand me, and i think that is really important to be able to have places like that. i do not know what else to say.
i'm in a position now to where i can, like, do whatever i needed to do to maintain a stable life, to get the proper treatment that i needed. i have a wonderful case manager. without her and my psychiatrist, i don't know. that is what i needed. to have a place to go where i could just be heard and not be misunderstood. that is about it, really. >> thank you very much, mr. jefferson. [applause] mr. jefferson? mr. jefferson. >> yes. >> would you care to take one or two questions from some of our board members? >> share. >> do we have any questions from the board?
-- >> sure. >> do you have any questions from the board? seeing none, thank you for speaking with us and giving us a look at what is like. ms. robinson, thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you for having me. i am 32 years old. i am currently a resident here in san francisco. i'm not a originally from here, and i do not have statistics or anything else to be viewed besides what i have experienced and what i have overcome through the help of all the services that have been provided to me since i have been here. the only reason -- the reason that i'm here to this day is because in 2006, i -- my life
had taken a turn for, to me when i look back, for the worse. yes, i have been -- i do have a criminal history before this time had come, and at that point, i had no idea that i was -- that i had any type of mental disorder or anything wrong with, you know, the way that -- what was going on through my mind. so when i was arrested out here in san francisco, when i went to jail, i do not think anybody knew how to help me, so when i went -- when they sent me to patton state hospital, i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. it was a shock to me because i have never seen myself as someone who could not control her own mind.
when i first got arrested, my mind was totally gone. i do not have any control over my thoughts, but with the psychiatric staff that was in the county jail out here in san francisco, they did everything that they could to help me -- they did not carry me, but they helped me carry myself because they knew that even though i did have a problem inside my mind that i could not control myself without medication or the help of others. from the services that i get, from the people that i have encountered, citywide, the iris center, behavioral health court -- they have all shown me and unconditional care about how my
life turned down and where i go in my life and how they support me and how i can support myself. there are many people that i see that i do not know if they can carry themselves, and they do that for them, but at the same time, i do see them in certain areas where they know that a person can carry themselves and control what it is that they do in their lives and how they direct their lives, and they do back. out here, i have nobody. i have no family. being arrested out here, even though i had nobody, is more than a blessing to me because had been somewhere else, i would never have had the opportunity at all. i would not have had the services. i would not have had the people
that care about me, even though they are not my family. they are just people who are -- this is their job, to help people, but that is not one i haven't experience -- that is not what i feel when they help me. when they help me, i see people who truly care about another person's life and how they end up. throughout this last year, i have been here since -- i have been out of jail since june 30, 2008. i have had many sources out here help me, and i cannot remember them all, but a lot of them are probably no longer available, and it is unfortunate because even though right now i am in a place where i do need help
still, but they have allowed me to get to a place where i can do things on my own. i can start to go back to work. i'm going to school now. they do not keep me in a box. they allow me to make my own decisions in life. they allow me to do what it is that i feel would make me happy and make me comfortable with where i'm going in my life, and if these services and these people are not -- you know, if the money is not there to help them help me, then my life would probably be going down and totally different direction, somewhere where i know i would never want to be, and some are i know where i could knock the -- somewhere i know where i could not be happy or ever have what i am going towards now.
i do not know what else to say. there is so much. [applause] >> ms. robinson, thank you so much for sharing with us on how services can help a person to feel comfortable with themselves to be able to continue on i live here in san francisco. the testimony was well-deserved and well-received. thank you. we are going to go a little bit out of order here and hear a statement from the national alliance on mental illness san francisco and its president, dr. gifford price smith. >> thank you. first off, i want us to of
knowledge the tremendous leadership and help from the mental health board. by colleagues have been helpful and one of the leaders in this process along with the rest of the mental health board, so i really appreciate their efforts. we would not be in this chamber tonight without them, so i thank you very much. give them a round of applause if you would. [applause] i'm thinking james is looking pretty good up here on the diocese -- dias, and i guess he knows it. he is dressed to the nines. for those of you who might be living in district 6, you have a chance to put him there permanently because he will be running for the office of supervisor in your district. be keeping a lookout for him on the ballot. back to the serious topic at hand -- all of us have just heard from front-line, very
dedicated professionals who are day in and day out dealing with this very serious illness condition in the city. you have heard from physicians. you have heard from front-line police lieutenants. you have heard from the jail staff. you have heard from attorneys and not often do we hear public defenders and district attorneys are men are working together. this is pretty incredible. they are usually opposing on every issue, and it was very impressive testimony. you also heard from experts on the homeless problem. all of them describing the fallout of inadequate options, inadequate services for people who live in the city. not talking about inmates. not talking about homeless. we're talking about people who live in the city to happen to be struggling with mental illness. they paint a very stark picture.
instead of treating mental illness, we are criminalizing mental illness. they should be in treatment, but they are -- once in awhile, they are rescued in behavioral health. otherwise, they are headed toward a life of imprisonment. one little statistic is there is to put 4 million people in state and federal prisons in the country in the united states. 1/3 of those are undiagnosed and untreated. that is what we as a society are currently doing with the mental health problem in the united states, and i think san francisco can do better. it really does not have to be that way. as a day in, day out, senator johnston described in her own words better than i could our early intervention can keep folks from ever ending up in behavioral health court. early intervention and complete
treatment. we know what works is what jennifer just said. we know what it takes to get on the road to recovery. we just heard from two very brave individuals. i'm not sure i could do all that they have gone through in their lives and then stand in a public session as intimidating as his venue and talk about how they got through health court and are now pursuing education, holding down a full-time job, maintaining residents completely on their own and thanking the city of san francisco 40 services they believed -- received a long delay -- for the services they recede along the way. so what do we need? we need adequate inpatient
services. we probably need the right number of beds. that becomes a big bang away around budget time, but let's think a little bit more about how he described it, as a bottleneck in the entire system. it is not adequate to stay in hospital for seven days or 10 days or two weeks with an acute psychotic illness and go out before the medications have stabilized in before people are under full treatment, and this is not my opinion. this is science. you've heard from a trained psychiatrists who deals with this every day. he was not just submitting an editorial opinion. that is in fact the science. you cannot be stabilized in under a month. not only are we sending people out too soon, but we are sending them out without adequate follow-up. no appointment, and a case manager, the discharge follow-up whatsoever. plus, we have some folks sitting
there not able to go anywhere because there's no step down residential unit, no adult unit that is less acute to receive them. basically, these will continue is not being honored. we are not dealing with a cute. we are not doing follow-ups, and we are not dealing with the full of spectrum of patient services necessary. on the other hand, does it need to be that way? but ms. robinson and mr. jefferson told us know usno -- told us no. given the services early before they are in and out of jail and they can prevent -- the comfort of the citizens. that is not just a hope. that is actually a reality. you heard two examples of it. so yes, we have budget restraints, and yes, the city is asked to do the cutbacks that
jennifer has described to us, but the programs that we are asking for are actually cost- effective. without adequate services, we are sending people of 5150 you into a medical hospital where they are not treated at all -- they are giving 50 given a little valium and set up to the streets fidget over sending a full 5150% into the cabin, and the budgets of what that costs are much higher than it would be if we did the right job here in san francisco. so we lose money when we send out of county. we lose money when we cannot live patients through the system because there is an adequate follow-up. we lose money because of the revolving door of going in and out of jail and in and out of the hospital 11 times in two years, is the example of jason, and the $250,000 that could have been spent more wisely on one
case manager that would advise any case managers to follow up and make sure that the individual did not go through 11 hospital patients. with smarter care, we can save lives and make budget dollars work. three specific suggestions we would like the supervisors to take up -- number one, not-for- profit hospitals have been enjoying tax benefits for years, bestowed on them by the city and county as well as the state for their non-profit status. we think they should be commensurate public accounting, and they should return to the community benefits in the form of increased services commensurate with the tax breaks they receive.
the example that you heard about st. luke's closes, no more beds, and yet the owner of that facility now is not held accountable for the fact that there are much fewer beds available for all citizens in california as a result of that closing. in chicago, the city and county took on this issue, this non- profit issue, and was successful in getting funds diverted into mental health programs. we should pursue that. it worked in chicago. i'm not sure why it would not work here. also, as a matter of city and county policy, we should be providing the full continuum of psychiatric services. this is what science tells us is the right way to deal with it. this is what any medical physician will tell you. this is what any psychiatrist will tell you is the right way to deal with it.
why can we not hold our own public policy in the health department accountable for providing a complete continuum of care. lastly, we have heard from everyone who testified tonight that there are an adequate service is now -- inadequate service is now. we should demand that the city commission, a gaap analysis, and an investment plan to get us there. we are really not interested in wrangling and yelling and going through a budget crisis telethons. we really would like to plan in a more thoughtful long-term way what does it take to be providing the beds for at least adequate, and to use the word that obama used today, at least
adequate health care for the united states citizens. and with a public-private partnership and a commission moving toward finding the right balance in investment and providing services and supervisor leadership, we can demonstrate and all be proud of those san francisco values that we all hold so close. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. i would now like to thank all of you who have spoken so very well about these issues, and now, it is time to hear from you, the public. this is your opportunity to come up and speak regarding anything that you have heard this
evening. please come up to the microphone and state your name clearly and your organization if applicable. you will have three minutes in which to make your comment. please raise your hand if you need a common card, and staff will provide one for you. yes? >> good evening, members of the community. i am the director of education and on my second term as the city commissioner on mooc. the marijuana offenses oversight committee. i am also a mental health patient in san francisco. due to the killing of my only child, eight years old, by sfpd.
he was my only child, and had this since then, i have suffered from acute suicide disorder, and i have two priors, but now, thanks to my wonderful their fists at the center, which is just at the corner of mission and excelsior, i no longer have to face the shame terror a 5150 of psychiatric intervention, which means there is no police deployment, there is no hospital bed for three days. just a tremendous expenditure that it takes.
in fact, i go to see my therapist once a week. thank you, by the way, to the chair of this commission was successfully fighting the closure of the southeast geriatric center, which is the only facility for seniors with mental health problems or issues. i'm also here to demonstrate my grave concern about what will happen to the homeless with a plan that the police chief wants to propose to the board of supervisors. it just terrifies me to think that people who are suffering from hypothermia or simply beating to their own drum
because they self medicate would even do not self medicate, would be penalized for not getting a quick end of period and on top of that, the possibility of the religious nation that may be approved for -- the legislation that may be approved for sfpd. i respectfully urge this commission to go through all the ins and outs of what the ordinance means and what it would do to the poor, the black, brown, the self medicated or not on the streets of san francisco. thank you very much. [applause] thank you.
>> thank you, very much. my name is florence. i am a family member. i have had two siblings with serious mental illness. i'm also a long time mental health advocates, formerly on the board of directors of nami. two years ago, i formed my -- with some colleagues -- new organization called no health without mental health. as president and founder of no health without mental health, i want to bring our new organization -- because we are a new startup venture. we all come from many years of mental health advocacy. we are highly experienced. our mission is to eliminate the stigma of mental illness